Can you guarantee White Sharks?
No. We cannot guarantee that you will see White Sharks from the surface or from the cage. Wildlife can never be guaranteed, nature is unpredictable. The low Shark season takes place some time during the months of January through March. That low season corresponds generally to the lowest water temperatures, and the number of Sharks in both Shark Bay and Dyer Island areas can decrease dramatically for several weeks during some years in this period. Please see our cancellation policy for more.
Do I get a refund if we do not see any Sharks?
Sharks are wild animals and their presence cannot be guaranteed. In the event that there is no shark activity while on a shark cage diving tour with Marine Dynamics, then a voucher will be offered. This voucher is not transferable – your name and passport number will be recorded on the voucher. If a shark has been sighted from the boat, we will consider that a successful trip. We can guarantee a marine biologist on board who will educate you on our favourite apex predator and other shark species seen. Remember that YOUR CHOICE MAKES A DIFFERENCE and you can be assured that by booking with us you are assisting in the research and conservation of the great white shark. Should sea and weather conditions unexpectedly change while at sea, it may affect your time to dive in the cage. Be assured that this would be unusual as our team does regular weather checks. The transfer fee is non-refundable.
Do I get a discount for only doing surface viewing without going into the cage?
No. Our guests pay for the space on the boat, whether they remain on the boat or decide to go into the Shark cage. We only have one price.
How long will we stay on the ocean?
We generally launch between 08h00 and 10h00 in the morning, depending on the moon phase, which affects the tidal range and limits our ability to launch Slashfin from the small and very shallow harbour of Kleinbaai. The time we spend on the ocean depends mostly on the Sharks . . . sometimes we get Sharks very quickly while the very next day, we might be waiting several hours for the first Shark to appear. Moreover, Sharks present different personalities, and although curious by nature, they are generally very cautious, and while some Sharks will sometimes stay around the boat for hours, most Sharks only remain around the boat for 5 to 15 minutes. All these factors will decide how long we spend at sea . . . and of course, you and the other guests will ultimately decide when we go back to shore, unless the skipper decides to return to shore for safety reasons due to adverse weather conditions. We generally return to shore between 3 and 6 hours after leaving the harbour.
What is chumming?
In order to be able to observe and cage dive with Great White Sharks, we need to attract these Sharks to the boat and the cage. Chumming is the process in which we create a chum slick also known as odour corridor that will guide the Sharks to the boat. Chum usually consists of minced tuna meat, mashed sardines, and/or fish oil, which are mixed with seawater in a drum on board Slashfin. This potent fish smelling mixture is then ladled back into the ocean, and will slowly drift away from the boat, creating the chum slick. Once this process has started, it is all a game of patience and luck until we get a Shark . . . we wait for a Shark to swim across our chum slick drifting down current from the boat ever further away. Once the Shark enters the chum slick, it will smell the dead fish smell and track it back to its source, the boat. The Shark enters a scavenging mode and usually swims in a zigzag pattern up the chum slick, a strategy that prevents missing any drifting pieces of potential carcass. Once the Shark is close to the boat, we use a bait and a decoy lure to attract the Shark to the surface and closer to the boat.
What boat will we spend the day on?
Slashfin is the name of the 46 feet or 14-metre long catamaran vessel that Marine Dynamics is operating for their Shark excursions around Dyer Island. This boat was built in 2010 specifically for the purpose of working, viewing and diving with Great White Sharks in the stormy waters of the Western Cape. The boat carries all the necessary safety equipment and is certified by SAMSA, the authorities responsible for maritime safety in South Africa, on an annual basis. Slashfin is powered by four large four-stroke 300hp outboard engines, and is equipped with the best electronic equipment to navigate the area. The boat carries a seven-person cage, offers a large cabin where you can safely store your personal belongings and a large top deck that offers a bird's eye view over the Sharks and the action in the water. This is the ideal boat to discover Great White Sharks!
What determines where you anchor each day to find sharks?
Many diving magazines and books have wrongly inferred that Shark Alley is the main location to anchor and see Sharks in Gansbaai throughout the year. However, various factors play a part in where we choose to go and ‘look for Sharks’.
Can I bring alcohol on the boat?
No. According to our code of conduct, alcohol is not allowed on our vessel. Alcohol is probably the best inducer of seasickness and we recommend that you severely limit your alcohol intake the night prior to your excursion. You don't want to spoil the adventure of a lifetime and forfeit the opportunity to witness a Shark breaching or predation due to a hangover or self-induced seasickness, do you?
Will I get seasick?
Hopefully not, but unfortunately, seasickness may be part of the experience. Read our few tips below. You may have spent some time on boats before and believe that everything will be fine, but you probably have never spent time on an anchored boat, and that is where the problem may occur. The dangerous time to get seasick is during the waiting period until we get Sharks, as your mind wanders into boredom once the anticipation wears off. So please read and observe the few tips below to avoid any adverse situation and condition. If you get seasick and cannot bear the feeling, we can organise for a shuttle to collect you from Slashfin and bring you back to shore. This shuttle is, however, run by an independent company, and a surcharge will be added to your bill. This surcharge is independent of the number of people returning to shore – there is a fixed price for the shuttle.
What can I do to avoid seasickness?
There is no general rule to avoid this terrible feeling, but here are some tips which can help to prevent it: